I see no revenge, just a match to win!

Disappointments are bound to occur in any kind of human endeavours. The story is not different for Ghanaians and their dear Black Stars. Nevertheless, no Ghanaian can boldly pronounce their hatred for the Black Stars; it is a heritage bequeathed to generations by the great Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah.

As a newborn independent nation, the Black Stars was part of a grand design by Dr Nkrumah to create a unique Ghanaian identity as well as instill a sense of pride for nation in the Ghanaian people. Black Stars in engrained in our makeup as Ghanaians and there shall be no end to this bitter-sweet relationship no matter the pain they inflict.

Talking about pain, none comes close to the one Ghanaians suffered at the hands of the Black Stars on that dreadful evening in 2010 in South Africa. The Black Stars of Ghana had missed a lifetime opportunity of etching their names in history as the first set of African players to usher an African nation into the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup (FWC), for the first time!

In his autobiography titled, ‘Legyandary’, the man at the center of it all, Asamoah Gyan acknowledges that, “it was an unfortunate miss and I appreciate the pain that is associated with those memories for everyone, including myself.” On that day, the seeds of hatred for Uruguayan forward, Luis Suarez were planted by Ghanaians. When the time of harvest would come, only God knew.

12 years later, many Ghanaians are ready to harvest the seeds they planted. The Black Stars comes face-to-face with Uruguay in the final Group H game, today. In a recent World Cup advertisement by one brand, the penalty scene of 2010 between Baby Jet & Fernando Muslera is recreated, only that this time Baby Jet puts the ball past Muslera into the net. That was every Ghanaian’s wish in 2010, but “Clang. I hit the bar. I had missed it.” Asamoah Gyan writes in LeGyandary. That miss has haunted the player and Ghanaians alike for the past 12 years. Can the horrid story of 2010 be actually re-written in Ghana’s favour ten 12 years later? It is  only one thing on many people’s minds: REVENGE!

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Now, that is where my fear lies. Once Ghana’s opponents were revealed after the draw, there’s been numerous talk of revenge against Uruguay, particularly against Luis Suarez: A villain to Ghanaians but a hero to his people!

For 12 years, Ghanaians have been waiting patiently for a day like this. That day is here! To see Luis Suarez exit the FWC would mean justice for his ‘crime’ in 2010. However, I see no revenge, there’s just a match to win! In a pre-match interview Luis Suarez, clearly not remorseful, has insisted that he owes Ghana no apologies for what he did in South Africa. I totally agree with the striker’s defense of his actions against Ghana in 2010. Let’s not forget he paid the price for his actions with a red card and a penalty for Ghana, according to FIFA rules. Asamoah Gyan missed the penalty. At that point if he had scored, Uruguay had nothing to lose because the ball would have ended up in the net with Suarez’s intervention. Baby Jet missed the penalty and Suarez’s gamble paid off big time! Like I mentioned earlier, the Black Stars is woven into the fabric of our Ghanaian identity. Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah was deliberate about this!

It is a test of our unwavering patriotism and love for the country. Think of it this way and you’d come to terms with the fact that Luis Suarez became a hero to his people on that day. He put himself on the line for his nation; that’s what a true patriot does. Yes, he caused our deepest pain as Black Stars fans but he was hailed by his people for that sacrifice. If any Black Stars player wouldn’t do that for the team (and country) I would question his sense of duty and loyalty to the nation. On the pitch it is a matter of defending the nation to the hilt; it is akin to a soldier on the battlefield with guns blazing.

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Revenge or not, the game must will be played. And, Ghana’s hope of advancing to the next round of the FWC would materialize only after beating their dreaded opponents, Uruguay, today. What ought to preoccupy the minds of the entire team going into this game, especially the players should be mapping out strategies capable of securing a win for Ghana. That is the only requirement to make it into the round of 16: 3 points!

Beating Uruguay today would ensure that the ghost of Luis Suarez haunting Ghanaians for 12 years, is put to finally put to rest. Again, if this win satisfies the thirst of many Ghanaians for vengeance against Uruguay, then that’d be the icing on the celebratory cake. The talk of revenge only heightens my fear; the players should not be consumed with this thought of “revenge” lest we end up exiting the competition at the hands of the very individual we seek revenge against.

A goal by Luis Suarez against Ghana today would cut through the old wounds of Ghanaians from 2010, which will likely be more painful than what he inflicted upon us 12 years ago on African soil. Despite not scoring goal or recording a win at this year’s tournament the threat Luis Suarez presents as a striker cannot be underestimated. I wish the Black Stars of Ghana well!! May our faces beam with smiles after the final whistle is blown. God bless our homeland, Ghana!

By Adjei-Gyamfi Yaw.